The Big 4 review – a deliciously deranged action comedy flick

By Lori Meek
Published: December 15, 2022 (Last updated: January 31, 2023)


A thrilling and entertaining feature that somehow successfully combines gratuitous violence with comedy.

We review the Netflix film The Big 4, which does not contain spoilers.

Netflix original action comedy from Indonesia, The Big 4, was written and directed by Timo Tjahjanto. The movie centers on a group of four vigilante assassins formed of Topan (Abimana Aryasatya), Alpha (Lutesha), Jenggo (Arie Kriting), and Pelor (Kristo Immanuel), who are forced into retirement after their mentor, Petrus (Budi Ros), is murdered by a former student. 

Years later the four are forced to reconnect when Petrus’s daughter, Dina (Putri Marino), makes her way to the island they’ve been laying low at. Dina is a police officer working under the command of Petrus’s lifelong friend, Hassan. As the young woman never stopped investigating her father’s murder, her arrival on the island draws the attention of Antonio (Martino Lio), the man who killed Petrus and who’s now determined to get rid of the rest of the old man’s family. 

There’s a lot to like about The Big 4, starting with the opening scene that introduces our heroes. The group are vigilantes, and they start the movie by saving a group of children from a human organ trafficking ring posing as an orphanage. We also quickly learn how important the bond between them and Petrus is, as the old man has been training them since they were children and working with them despite it negatively affecting his relationship with his daughter. Of course, Petrus is murdered the same night he announces his retirement, leaving his group of assassins and his daughter alone. 

Despite having quite a few emotional moments, this flick isn’t exactly what you’d call family-friendly. As a filmmaker, Tjahjanto is not afraid to use a ridiculous amount of gratuitous violence and gore, nor is he afraid to add a sparkle of comedy to the bloodiest of scenes. And it somehow works, resulting in a fast-paced entertaining action movie. 

The acting of the leads was top-notch. However, I particularly enjoyed Martino Lio as the villain Antonio. He brought just the right amount of psychopathic insanity to make his character thrilling and the vendetta he has against the heroes believable. Yes, a lot of the performances are over the top, but this whole flick is deliciously deranged. The action scenes happen in quick succession, but somehow we get just about enough breathing space to understand what’s going on and what the character’s true motivations are. 

The Big 4 is a thrilling and entertaining feature that somehow successfully combines gratuitous violence with comedy. It kept me at the edge of my seat, and the mystery of who was really behind Petrus’s murder kept me intrigued. The cliffhanger at the end did a good job of setting the foundation for a potential sequel. Even better, this may just be the first film in a successful franchise. 

What did you think of the Netflix film The Big 4? Comment below.

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